Has any doctor heard of torticollis developing after a facelift and neck lift?

Dr. Dean Kane Q & A Q. Has any doctor heard of torticollis developing after a facelift and neck lift? After eight months of agonizing tightness and pain, I went for a second opinion and I was recommended to see a maxillofacial specialist for either TMJ or torticollis or both. I am in incredible agony and never comfortable. I thought I was just healing because I kept reading that things would eventually get better, but this just keeps getting worse. I have an appointment to see another specialist, but was wondering if other doctors had ever seen this development after surgery. A. Sooo sorry for your troubles! Torticollis and TMJ (temporomandibular joint) pain are not unheard of following face and neck surgery. Definitely more rare following face and neck lift. The symptom of these problems is muscle spasm and if allowed to progress may become both difficult to treat and consist of long-term pain and contracture. Interestingly, the sternocleidomastoid muscle which is the causative muscle for torticollis  and the temporal muscle and masseter muscle (and others) causing the TMJ are not really involved in a face and neck lift. Other causes would need to be investigated:
  • Post-operative pain causing jaw clenching or neck restriction
  • Muscle spasm from another cause such as tic douloureux; a trigeminal neuralgia from many causes
  • Viral nerve pain and spasm
  • Underlying bone deformities which “surfaced” following your surgery.
  • Others
Without more information and proper evaluation, it is difficult to assist you further. I agree that multiple second opinion for this problem is recommended;  initially by a ENT surgeon and/ or neurologist.  Please continue pursuing help until you are well again.  In the meantime, please include a PMR (Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation) Physician to assist in the diagnosis and recommend physical therapy to assist in your well-being. I wish you all the best!   This information is not meant as medical advice. It is provided solely for education. Our practice would be pleased to discuss your unique circumstances and needs as they relate to these topics.
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